It’s not an uncommon sight to see the powerful Peters-Williams and Pike triumvirate celebrating in the winner’s stalls at Ascot and Belmont, but there was added spice to their Roma Cup victory at winter headquarters on Saturday.
Battle Hero gave Bob Peters and his wife Sandra their second Roma Cup success and capped a memorable interstate feature double after Real Love took out the JRA Cup (2000m) in track record time at Doomben in Queensland.
For Battle Hero’s jockey, William Pike, it was the third leg of a winning treble and a personal milestone as he raced past a century of metropolitan winners for the season after earlier guiding stable mates, Military Reign and Military Ruler.
Trainer Grant Williams claimed his first Roma Cup after two previous placings and joined his partner, Alanna Williams, who added her name to the honour roll after combining with outstanding mare, Tribula, for horseman, Arthur Mortimer, in 2003.
Peters, who is on the cusp of 100 city wins for the season as an owner, admitted Battle Hero’s win over Magnifisio and Luckygray, had caught him by surprise.
“I thought it might have been too short for him, but they did go a little hard in front,” said Peters.
Battle Hero broke through after running consecutive second placings behind, Wink And A Nod in the Listed Grandstand Cup (1500m) and Old Comrade Stakes (1600m).
Pike had the Stratum gelding perfectly poised behind pacesetters Dawn Approach and Magnifisio, before pouncing when a run opened in the straight.
Battle Hero burst his way between runners to defeat favourite Magnifisio by a half length with a gallant Luckygray flashing home late for third.
Pike, who advanced to 101 city wins, said he was relieved to bring up his century.
“I’m pretty happy to get it over with,” Pike said.
“I’ve got a lot of good teams and stables behind me.
Despite the 2015-16 racing season ending in July, Pike holds an unassailable lead in the jockey’s premiership; he leads his next rival, Lucy Warwick, by 57 wins.
Pike, who will claim an eighth jockey’s title, said his next challenge would be to overhaul, Paul Harvey’s, Western Australian riding record of 116.5 city winners in a season.
“If I could I would love to,” Pike said.
“I suppose that has to be the next target.
“It won’t be easy , but we will see how we go.
“At the moment I’m happy to get a hundred.”
Pike rates his pulsating victory on Perfect Reflection in the Group One Kingston Town Classic (1800m) as the best of his winners.
Meanwhile low profile trainers, Rhys Radford and Jody McLaughlin, boosted their reputations with emerging and in form horses, Great Shot and So Who’s Harry.
Radford’s, Great Shot, with the addition of blinkers, made a top return to racing after an impressive maiden campaign resulted in one loss from three his starts.
The Magnus gelding sped out of the gates to lead for jockey, Craig Staples, and maintained that position throughout, scoring by a half length from Shady Gray.
So Who’s Harry produced a similar run and after being well rated by, jockey, Ryan Hill, held on to defeat Albany galloper, Run Liam Run, by one length with Moonsearch third.
The son of Startac is building a formidable partnership with Hill who has partnered the gelding to all six of his career wins.
Julio Santarelli